As I sit down at my table every morning, I have a clear view of one of my paintings. This painting took months to complete and was created during a time of tremendous hardship and discomfort for me and my family. I do not believe that I will ever part with it. I have made art for over 20 years, and I never make art with the intention of keeping any. Making the work and enjoying the creative process is always my primary reward. Finding a forever home for my paintings and supporting my family with my art has always been my secondary reward. This painting is my only exception.
While creating a painting like this, there are so many elements that need consideration. First of all, I consider the placement of the figure. I knew I wanted to create a prayerful caretaker, a loving force of some kind, and I knew that I wanted it to be inspired by figures from the Renaissance. The figure would be front and center with a magnificent halo. Intuition lead the way while I created her. Later, after making some progress on this painting, I began a series of eye studies, painted on wood blocks, to stretch myself and my art making skills. After painting many blocks, I turned my focus back to the painting, and the eyes started going in around the halo. The vague idea for the theme was that even while praying, there is protection. I was contemplating the notion that we are always being looked out for, even when we cannot look out for ourselves.
I haven’t written for a while because 2021 was a pretty rough year for me and my family. In February, we were hit with a crazy winter storm, one that only comes once in a hundred years here in Texas. We lost power for several days and had nowhere to go to keep warm, so we lived in our closet on a mattress that we shoved in there to keep ourselves warm with our own body heat while the temperature inside our house was in the 30’s and 40’s for days. Since we have no gas, we cooked food in our fireplace when we had wood. After we thawed out, we noticed some water under our kitchen sink which caused us concern. We had it all inspected by an insurance adjuster with a contractor present. The contractor ended up being an awful person and, to make a long story short, we lived without a kitchen or bathroom sinks and cabinets on concrete floors for 5 months, not knowing if our insurance company would cover replacing it all. We were essentially camping in our own house. It was very stressful, to say the least. Thanks to a dear friend, we eventually found a great contractor and another four months later our house, and our family, slowly healed.
When we were finally able to put all the rooms back together, I decided that I would place this painting in a room where we spend a lot of time. I just wanted to look at it for a bit. Over time it has become very special to me, an object that I now consider priceless, though I had once wanted to offer it for sale. This painting serves as a very personal reminder of how my family and I are able overcome hardship. It reminds me how we came together to support one another and grew even closer to each other. Most importantly, this painting has taught me about something I had never even considered: What other people experience while living with my art.
It has been interesting for me to learn the differences in the meanings of the elements in this painting from the creation process, and how much their meanings change once living with them. Now that I have lived with her for a while, the image of this saintly woman reminds me of the challenges my family and I faced in 2021 and also the challenges I face as an artist, and how I work through things, sometimes for months and years at a time, before I see the solution clearly. The eyes around the glowing halo remind me that there are people, and if you believe it, sometimes angels, or depending on your spiritual flavor, God is always watching out for us. I am reminded that I am never alone, and that often times difficulties are but a blip and should be treated as such.
The past few months of enjoying and experiencing my own art in this way has given me a little more appreciation for what I do and the responsibility I have as an artist: Make the work that I need to make. Make the work that the world might need. Make the art that helps people. Make the art that can brighten a day or a life time.
My intention for this new year is to live more intentionally and to spread that through the work that I make. I hope that you and yours are happy, healthy and that you have a beautiful 2022!
The first months of the Pandemic/Lockdown/Quarantine/End of the World were something that took a great deal of adjusting to. No more willy-nilly fancy-free hanging out with my friends at Improv class/practice/shows. No more creative time on stage. No more going anywhere without a mask. No more ease.
Even though the opportunities to get together with some of my Improv friends inside buildings came to a halt, most of us kept in touch. We continued to talk about ways we could keep trying to do what we had been doing. We started doing some Improv over Zoom. Not great. Tried a few times. Tried it in a friend’s backyard. It was ok but not the same. My Improv group, named Tested on Animals, kind of fell apart. Though most of the group stopped getting together to practice Improv, three of us (myself, Nathan and Jennifer) continued to get together on a regular basis. One day we decided that maybe Improv was not going to be our activity, but maybe we could get together to make art instead.
We started meeting in Nathan’s backyard. We would all bring supplies. Someone would provide small canvases, another would bring brushes, paint, dry media, etc. The table in his backyard is so large we could sit 6 feet apart and just have a communal set-up in the middle of the table. We worked on a painting for 10-20 minutes and then pass it to the next person. We each had a canvas to work on, and the art would be passed along until we all felt it was complete. We averaged 6 or so paintings during a 3-4 hour weekend afternoon session. And so, our Improv on Paper - Socially Distanced Art Club began.
We worked through the hottest part of the Summer under misters with periodic dips in the pool to cool off. We would work in any weather. We sat in some light rain, intense heat and sun, and then just before winter I had to step out. I made the decision that with Covid 19 cases rising so much in the area, I just couldn’t continue. Even with the socially distant seating, it felt like a risk that I couldn’t take. I knew we were getting close to seeing a vaccine and would be getting it in a matter of months. We had been so careful over the previous 6-7 months that I didn’t want to take any chances.
During our art making we put together quite a portfolio of paintings. We created something like 100 pieces. We even had 3 pieces hanging in a juried exhibition in Fort Worth.
Making these works was good for our mental health. It was like we had a group therapy session every weekend. While painting we would discuss our experiences with quarantine and what we had been up to that week. We talked about how we were dealing with new sets of limitations. We discussed what we were learning, how we were growing and talked about things we were not doing so well with. We came together to take a break from what we all felt we should be doing and got into what we wanted to do: taking a break and feeling some creative freedom. By the end of our sessions I would feel light and open again.
Sharing from our hearts and minds while sharing our creativity with one another is an experience unlike any other. The days of the backyard painting sessions are on hold for me now, but I will be back to it soon. Once the vaccine has made its way into each of us, we will continue some of those sessions indoors, either in my home or in my studio.
I am so excited to offer 25% off of EVERYTHING in my shop!
From now through December 5th, 2020, EVERYTHING in my shop will be 25% OFF
when you enter the COUPON CODE HOLIDAY2020 at checkout.
This SALE also includes FREE SHIPPING ON EVERYTHING!
Save 25% on all ORIGINAL PAINTINGS, SKATE DECKS, and REPRODUCTIONS!
Now through midnight December 5th, 2020!
It is important to understand that commissioning a custom piece of art is a collaboration between you and the artist. It is a time for the artist and the patron to get to know one another. The steps for this process are as follows:
Zoom Painting Parties are a great way to safely gather with friends and family from anywhere around the country during the holidays and make some beautiful art together!
HALLOWEEN PARTIES will be held during the last two weeks of October from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
That’s right! You can have your own Zoom Painting Party on Halloween! Halloween themed painting parties are a creative and safe way for kids of all ages to celebrate Halloween and costumes are encouraged!
For the holidays, I am offering a special group rate of $300, which includes up to 12 people.
Choose a prototype I have already created, or I can create a custom prototype for an additional fee.
Getting started is easy.
Simply choose the evening of your party and reach out to me by email through the button below.
We will reserve your evening, discuss the prototype you would like to create and get contact information you have collected for everyone in your party. I will then send Zoom invitations to your friends and family.
Supplies needed are easily found at Target, Michael’s or Amazon.